Small Waters Strategies – “Easy Pickins”

Small Waters Strategies – “Easy Pickins”

Aug 17, 2012

Development Lakes

The “Simple Read” Makes for a Quick Catch

By Mike Pehanich

I like simple!

Simple patterns, simple waters, simple logic, and simple location often lead to productive fishing.

I fish new waters frequently, so I encounter enough of the tough stuff. Give me an easy lake full of accommodating bass, and I can learn to love it.

I fished a mature residential development lake bordering a wetland area with angling buddy Ken Frank recently.

We worked the island and shoreline cover with the foot-controlled Twin Troller X10 from Freedom Electric Marine.

This 40-plus acre lake, which I was fishing for the first time, has more character than most housing development waters. A large island on the southeast corner of the lake makes for a handsome backdrop with fallen trees, brush and vegetation providing good habitat as well. The lake is rimmed with vegetation, which the lakefront owners had mercifully spared from chemical eradication. The lake also has two long arms on the north end.

The lake has no launch, so we dollied the boat down a steep rolling slope to water’s edge.  I hooked a 13-inch bass off the grass edge before I even stepped into the Twin Troller X10 (Freedom Electric Marine).

“Simple” read #1: Grass Rim — Now a visible grass edge is a simple read, and the algae that had collected over the tops of the shallow plants on the lake’s perimeter provided a coloring-book outline. Playing the hunch that largemouth bass would be working that edge paid off. We quickly boated a half dozen bass on wacky-rigged Senkos and Jackall Flick Shake rigs before we had reached the southeast corner.

No doubt, we could have caught more fish right there. (In fact, jigs and the aforementioned worm rigs took some of our best fish of the day when we returned to this area in mid-afternoon.) But a new lake deserves exploration, so we moved on.

Another "easy read" bass. This one came from a distinct shoreline edge of aquatic vegetation.

“Simple” read #2: Wind-Blown Bank — Wind can make boat control and presentation difficult, but it often makes bass active and aggressive. Meteorologists had predicted 19 m.p.h. winds by mid-morning, and right they were! The winds hit the prognosticator’s mark early, and the wind velocity climbed from there. The west bank proved nearly fishless. So we followed the south/southwest winds to the north side of the lake where waves slammed the shoreline. Two bass came quickly on the worm rigs. Then I switched to squarebill crankbaits and caught two more.

But we still had more lake to explore.

“Simple” read #3: Deep Rock Rim — Several homeowners had protected their shoreline with round medium-size white rock. Noting that the water dropped quickly to four- to six-foot depths along most of the bank, Ken pointed out that round rock rolls and that replacing shoreline rock had become an annual event at some of these homes. A rocky lip had formed at the base, and it grew slightly wider and rockier each season. Ken hooked a fish on his first cast – the first of many we plucked off that rock stretch. These were the fattest and most aggressive fish on the lake, too. Why? A pot-bellied bass spit up a big crayfish! That answered the question.

We ended up with 51 bass for the day. The majority came from the most easily read water on the lake.

Like I said, I like it simple!

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